17 Apr

Truth Out Today, April 17, 2011

Bradley Manning: Whistleblower or Scapegoat?
Michael Nagler, Truthout: “When is a whistleblower not a whistleblower? When he’s a scapegoat. Pfc. Bradley Manning is an unfortunate – and challenging – case in point, and to understand why, we need to see his situation in context… If, as a society, we scapegoat them[Assange and Manning], we are only trying to shift our own burden of guilt onto their shoulders, and to think we can get away with that for very long is a dangerous delusion.”
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Migrants “Fleeing Death” as Qaddafi’s Attacks on Misrata Mount, and Rebels Flee Ajdabiya
Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers: “As Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces rained mortars on residential areas of the coastal city of Misrata yet again Saturday, hundreds of foreign migrants who escaped the fighting took refuge at a transit camp here, counted their blessings and worried for the thousands still left behind… The migrants described a terrifying, weeks-long siege as Gadhafi’s forces try to wrest Libya’s third-largest city from rebel control.”
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Harry Potter and the Network of Neutrality
Michael Winship, Truthout: “The Harry Potter Alliance is a group of devotees worldwide who have hocus-pocused their shared love of the Potter books and movies into genuine social activism… Would that Harry Potter could thrust his wand and holler ‘Petrificus Totalus,’ immobilizing those who would see the Internet taken over by corporate greed and censorship. This time, the magic is going to have to come from us.”
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After Pledging to Not Raise Taxes, Walker Proposes Hiking Taxes and Fees on the Poor and Students
Zaid Jilani, ThnkProgress: “In his newly proposed budget, now-governor Walker appears to have already broken this pledge. While the budget would lower taxes overall – it includes $83.3 million in tax cuts ‘primarily for businesses and investors’ – it would make up for lost revenue by eliminating tax credits and exemptions that primarily benefit the poor and even some in the middle class.”
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“Spillionaires”: Profiteering and Mismanagement in the Wake of the BP Oil Spil
Kim Barker, ProPublica: “The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money. Some people profiteered from the spill by charging BP outrageous rates for cleanup. Others profited from BP claims money, handed out in arbitrary ways. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames – ‘spillionaires’ or ‘BP rich.’ Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.”
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Yemeni Opposition Leaders to Confer With Regional Bloc
Laura Kasinof, The New York Times News Service: “Opposition leaders from Yemen said they planned to travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council on a timetable for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office… The draft agreement also gives the president and his family immunity from prosecution, presumably to head off a situation similar to that in Egypt, where the military has detained former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons.”
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“To Work at Fukushima, You Have to Be Ready to Die”
Anne Roy, l’Humanite: “Specialist on Japan, the sociologist Paul Jobin has studied workplace conditions for workers in the nuclear industry. He offers us his analysis at a moment when those workers are attempting to get a hold on the situation at the Japanese power plant heavily damaged by the earthquake… We read that they are sleeping on the hard soil, that they have only two meals per day, and are rationed in drinking water. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and its subcontractors allow little information to filter out concerning workers fighting on the front lines at the Fukushima power plant.”
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For Young Environmental Activists, Obama Now the One to Pressure
Peter Nicholas, Tribune Washington Bureau: “Not so long ago Barack Obama and his campaign team might have masterminded the kind of conference that is unfolding in downtown Washington, D.C. Thousands of college students and idealistic young voters came in this weekend to learn organizing techniques aimed at pushing the country toward renewable energy. But in a measure of how much has changed since the ‘Yes We Can’ spirit of Obama 2008, many in attendance now see him as something of an obstacle.”
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High Food Prices: Do Family Farmers Benefit?
Timothy A. Wise, Triple Crisis: “Farm prices are up again, so farmers must be getting rich, right? The U.S. Department of Agriculture sure thinks so, projecting that U.S. farmers will see record net cash farm income of $99 billion in 2011. The media follows the government’s lead, offering interviews with farmers gushing about their new-found prosperity. Are things really so great down on the U.S. farm? They may be for the big guys, but they’re not for many family farmers.”
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Super Rich See Federal Taxes Drop Dramatically
Read the Article at Yahoo! News

Millions of Gallons of Hazardous Chemicals Injected Into Wells
Read the Article at the New York Times

Geithner: If We Don’t Raise Debt Ceiling, “We’d Have to Stop Making Our Payments to Seniors”
Read the Article at TIME

25 Facts That Show the US Health Care Industry Is One Giant Money Making Scam
Read the Article at Business Insider

California Republican Allegedly Sends Racist Obama Email
Read the Article at AP

Tea Party Jesus: Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Sidles Up to Religious Right for 2012 Campaign
Read the Article at AlterNet

Progressive Caucus Puts Together a People’s Budget
Read the Article at the Congressional Progressive Caucus

Click here for more BuzzFlash headlines

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are the two Great Lakes Tea Party autocratic leaders who owe more to the ruling style of past Soviet and Chinese leaders than anything that resembles George Washington.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote that “Tea Party Michigan Governor Rick Snyder adopts Soviet-style authoritarian powers over Michigan cities,” and has already implemented these powers in Benton Harbor, Michigan, removing all authority from the elected leadership of the voters in that city.

Forbes blog columnist Rick Ungar – in an article entitled “Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin” – reports on an alleged Walker plan:

Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.

According to the reports, should a locality’s financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

Such a law would additionally give Walker unchallenged power to end municipal services of which he disapproves, including safety net assistance to those in need.

Moreover, Ungar points out that if true about the Walker planned assumption of dictatorial powers, this supports the notion that GOP Tea Party governors and Republican-dominated legislatures want to “take control of local governments by replacing elected officials with appointees, both corporate and individual, of the state’s highest executive officer.”

That’s scary stuff, the kind of autocratic rule that inspired colonists to rise up and begin the American Revolution.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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